This fall, voting discussions were happening spontaneously wherever adults gathered: the dinner table, the grocery line, the car radio and well beyond. Kids in our neighborhood heard snippets of local and national voting issues throughout their day. Making sure to vote was often emphasized as a top priority.
Just imagine the delight of children who walked into the Tecumseh Branch of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana when they saw a large freezer box voting booth with a “Vote for Best Pet 2018” campaign in full swing! The premise was explained on a bulletin board directly behind the booth itself. “Dog or cat? Your vote decides! Customers of any age may vote from now through Tuesday, November 6th. One vote per customer, please. The winner will be announced with a Dog or Cat Storytime, Parade, and Victory Celebration.” Our sole service point included voter registration cards children could fill out themselves, a ballot, and “I voted!” stickers of course.
This passive program garnered a great deal of interest and participation in customers of all ages. Staff heard meaningful conversations between kids and their grownups. Also, many adults exclaimed aloud that just seeing the booth reminded them to vote. We saw kids using early literacy skills and critical thinking skills.
While we did have a private voting booth, most kids preferred to work through their discernment process with a parent or staffer at the desk. It was highly engaging on both sides of the desk, and a real honor to hold space for those big thoughts.
(Photos used with Permission of Allen County Public Library)
This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competency: Programming Skills
Our guest blogger today is Jen McKinney. Jen is the Assistant Manager and Children’s Librarian of the Tecumseh Branch of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.
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